Slack, Other Chat Apps Aim to Supplant Email in Workplace

Slack, valued at $7 billion during its last funding round, went public yesterday and closed at $38.62, which is 49 percent higher than the $26 reference price set by the New York Stock Exchange. The company, which provides workplace collaboration tools, said it currently has 10+ million daily users and 88,000 paying customers. While it positions itself as an antidote to overstuffed email boxes, it has heavyweight competition with Google (Hangouts Chat), Facebook (Workplace) and Microsoft (Teams). The latter, which is bundled with Office software, is already in use by 500,000+ organizations according to Microsoft. Continue reading Slack, Other Chat Apps Aim to Supplant Email in Workplace

Signal App Update Adds Ability to Make Encrypted Video Calls

The Signal app from non-profit Open Whisper Systems provides end-to-end encrypted messaging, voice calling, and now video chatting. The new feature, along with improved voice calling functionality, comes as part of a beta update for the app’s Android and iOS versions. Signal is a popular choice for activists and journalists who need a private communications platform, but it is still struggling to find a foothold in the mainstream because it sacrifices some popular features for security.  Continue reading Signal App Update Adds Ability to Make Encrypted Video Calls

Google to Roll Out its Jamboard Digital Whiteboard Next Year

Google just added to its list of new hardware products with the Jamboard, a 55-inch 4K touchscreen that will sell for under $6,000 next year. The company’s other hardware products include the new Pixel phone, Google Home, Chromecast, and Google Wi-Fi, the latter introduced this month. A digital whiteboard, Jamboard is the first hardware product from Google’s so-called G Suite — cloud-based tools that include Gmail, Google Drive and Google Docs. G Suite tools are aimed at long-distance online collaboration. Continue reading Google to Roll Out its Jamboard Digital Whiteboard Next Year

Google Builds Cast Functionality Directly into Chrome Browser

Google recently integrated full Google Cast capability directly into its Chrome browser, a significant upgrade to its previous Cast extension that allowed streaming from Chrome to supported devices like the company’s popular Chromecast. The Cast icon will appear on all sites that support it, enabling Cast functionality from the Chrome menu, no software download required. Cast is also now available on third party hardware such as TV sets and speakers. More than 38 million casts were sent from Chrome in August alone, representing over 50 million hours of consuming media content. Continue reading Google Builds Cast Functionality Directly into Chrome Browser

Users of Google Apps and Services No Longer Need Google+

Google recently announced it would relocate features once accessible through Google+ to other Google services. For example, location-sharing will be moved to Google Hangouts and photo features have been moved to Google Photos. The most celebrated change appears to be Google’s removal of the requirement of a Google+ account to make comments on YouTube, a point of contention between users and the company for years. Moving forward, interested users will only need a Google account to log in to the company’s apps and services. Continue reading Users of Google Apps and Services No Longer Need Google+

MashMe Enables You to Create Animated Avatars in Real Time

Croatian company MashMe has developed new software that allows users to create animated scenes and avatars of themselves using only a webcam. MashMe tracks even the most minute details of a person’s facial expressions and gestures to create animated avatars that can be used with services like Google Hangouts, Twitch and Skype. The company recently launched a Kickstarter campaign with a goal of raising $50,000, promising its contributors access to one of the two final software packages it plans to offer.  Continue reading MashMe Enables You to Create Animated Avatars in Real Time

Facebook Wants Developers to Integrate Apps with Messenger

At this week’s F8 developer conference in San Francisco, Facebook announced that it is opening up its Messenger app with a platform for creating apps. This will allow developers to build apps that can integrate with the social network’s instant-messaging service, which presently touts 600 million users. Nearly 50 integrated apps have been created under the program, including those from Bad Robot, ESPN and The Weather Channel. The service also supports 360-degree video with Facebook’s Oculus VR format. Continue reading Facebook Wants Developers to Integrate Apps with Messenger

Google+ Compartmentalized to Push Growth of Popular Products

In 2011, Google launched Google+, an ambitious social media endeavor to rival Facebook and other emerging social media sites and apps. Under Google+, the company premiered Google Photos and Google Hangouts, two products that despite the social network’s shortcomings, have been well received by the public. In an attempt to further develop these and other Google+ products, the company plans to launch these products into separate services with new management in place to oversee their development. Continue reading Google+ Compartmentalized to Push Growth of Popular Products

Google Launches Virtual Customer Service, Plans Help Desks

Google Device Experts is a new service that aims to educate prospective customers about different Google devices including smartphones, tablets and the Chromebook. The service videoconferences a customer with a Google representative who is trained to answer customer questions about products they are looking to purchase. The videoconferencing technology is the same used for Google Hangouts. The company also has plans to install virtual help desks at various retail locations.  Continue reading Google Launches Virtual Customer Service, Plans Help Desks

The Makers of ‘Ingress’ Create Another Alternate Reality Game

Google’s Niantic Labs has just released the first phase of its ambitious new project to create a fictional universe through a series of interconnected novels, movies, and alternate-reality games. The first novel, “Endgame: The Calling” and the alternate reality game made their debut this week. During the first phase of the launch, what happens in the game will affect the story of the upcoming books. The mobile game that accompanies the story will be launched next year. Continue reading The Makers of ‘Ingress’ Create Another Alternate Reality Game

Facebook May Introduce Payments Through its Messenger App

Facebook is reportedly ready to allow money transactions between friends on Messenger, according to hacked screenshots and video from Cycript. The feature will allow users to send money using a debit card, similar to how one would send a picture. In order to enhance security, an in-app pincode has been added. The reasoning behind former PayPal President David Marcus’ move to head of Messenger is now clear. The app could compete with Venmo, PayPal, and Square Cash. Continue reading Facebook May Introduce Payments Through its Messenger App

Google’s Ingress Game Combines Virtual and Real World Play

“Ingress,” a multiplayer game that uses the entire globe as its game board, made its debut on iOS this week. Now, iPhone users can join in the fun of working with other online gamers to find real life portals in their community and progress through the “Risk”-like game. “Ingress” already has about four million downloads on Android devices in about 200 countries. Google has also taken advantage of advertising opportunities, allowing businesses to pay to become a portal. Continue reading Google’s Ingress Game Combines Virtual and Real World Play

Livestream App Lets Google Glass Users Share Live Video

On Tuesday, Google officially released the Livestream app that allows people to share live video captured with their Google Glass headsets. Glass users simply tell their devices to start broadcasting and the video that the headset records can be shared with other Livestream users for free. To broadcast to non-Livestream viewers, users can pay up to $399 per month to stream video to the Web. Google vetted Livestream’s policy to ensure the app addresses privacy concerns. Continue reading Livestream App Lets Google Glass Users Share Live Video